AJ Product Testing
Hey… what are you doing in there?
- Exterior entry doors used in high velocity coastal building zones must withstand a force of 140 mph.
- The entrance door on a typical small commercial building opens and closes an average of 150,000 times a year.
- An HVAC wall panel must not deflect more than 1/240th of its width.
How can we be sure that our products will conform to building code requirements…or meet
customer expectations…or hold up under the wear and tear of extended use?
Fortunately, we have a lot of tools in our engineering workshop that allow us to do just that.
The Slammer… rapid cycle machine:
- If we bolt an aluminum parting stop to a steel jamb, will it stay in place when the door gets blown shut by wind 100,000 times?
- How about if we use self adhesive tape instead of bolts?
We’ve tested for both of those things and much more.
The cycle machine slams so violently that we usually have to shut it down for repairs several times during the test.
The slow cycle machine:
- How much will our commercial door hinge wear after 1,000,000 cycles?
Just slow the slammer down to a crawl and we can find out.
The Shower Stall:
Need a place to experiment with different installation techniques in order to develop a weather-tight inswing door? Just mount the door in the shower stall and get to work. The nozzles meter out the equivalent of an 8” per hour rainstorm, and we can pressurize the
booth to simulate a 34 mph wind to meet AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) specifications.
The Pressure Wall:
The pressure wall is a miniature replica of The Big One at Architectural Testing, Inc, an independent test lab in Saint Paul. We don’t know of any other access door manufacturer that has one of these, and we have two!
- How will leakage performance change if we switch from a perimeter style panel to a cakepan panel?
- Will the self-adhesive access door gasket still seal against water leakage if it’s torn in the corner?
With the pressure wall, we can answer those questions. We can generate positive or negative pressures more than twice as high as any air handler uses, and we can subject the door to the equivalent of an 8” hourly rainfall. In essence, we can see how our door will perform under hurricane conditions!
When we can’t test it ourselves, or when we
need independent verification of our test results, we go to Architectural Testing. Their pressure wall measures 33’ x 13’, and they have a lot of other test equipment. For example, ATI has a cannon that fires a 10-foot 2×4 at 150 feet per second to
meet the “windborne debris” test criteria for the Florida Building Commission. Here’s a picture
of one bouncing off our cakepan door.
Rack tests, sag tests, deflection tests, leak tests, cycle tests…it really goes on and on, and we do most of it right here.
- How many latches should we put on an access door? How many hinges?
Our customers look to us for the answers, and we can tell them!